Good morning. After an all-night session that started at 11 a.m. yesterday, the State Senate approved the final bills sent to it by the Assembly to complete work on the 2011-12 state budget. The budget plan for community colleges is the same as outlined in Wednesday's e-mail, with $206 million of new funds:
- 2.21% enrollment growth ($126 million)
- $35 million to backfill categorical cuts imposed in 2010-11 (replacing the ARRA backfill)
- $25 million for the Economic and Workforce Development program to "meet emerging workforce needs"
- $20 million for Career Technology programs
- no cost-of-living adjustment (positive or negative)
As outlined Wednesday, most of the new items ($189 million of $206 million) are paid for by deferring spring apportionment payments to July 2011. While imposing more borrowing costs on our districts, the move helps the state with the repayment of $10 billion in anticipated cash-flow borrowing and helps meet next year's Proposition 98 guarantee.
The budget also repeals the SB 400 CalPERS pension enhancements adopted in 1999, but only for employees first hired after November 10, 2010.
Upheld in the deal is last year's promise to repay K-12 schools and community colleges $11.2 billion over the next several years, and $320 million is included in this budget as a downpayment on that outstanding liability. The $20 million for communtiy college career technology programs is funded from that "maintenance factor settle-up."
The 2011-12 budget is expected to begin with at least a $10 billion deficit, and many insiders believe the budget adopted this morning will be reopened as early as December or January (either under Schwarzenegger or the new governor).
While the tradition of waiting until the sun rises held true this year, the sunshine has not yet been cast on the dozens of implementing "trailer bills" that make statutory changes to implement the main spending bill. Advocates scrambled through the night to get language, which was held even more secret than usual. Thus, it will be likely be after the weekend before we know all of the details relating to the budget.
As I wrote Wednesday, this is a flawed budget, but it's a good budget for community colleges. It will help us limit the significant course reductions, which have hurt students and part-time faculty alike. It will limit the program reductions in our categorical programs and allow for some new programs that are help putting Californians back to work.
Thank yous go out to the League's government relations team--Theresa Tena, Bonnie Slosson, and Kristine Schilpp, as well as to our two regional representatives--Stacy Berger and Elaine Reodica, who worked with so many of you to meet with legislators and dismiss the worst of the budget proposals. Additionally, we continue the great partnership with the entire community college budget advocacy corps--led by Executive Vice Chancellor Erik Skinner. Erik, who will not be spending as much time on the budget as the EVC, deserves a lot of credit for the favorable treatment communtiy colleges have had over the last few years. I know it doesn't feel like it, but we continue to take fewer cuts than our education counterparts, and we have to recognize that it's due to our advocacy efforts.
Thank you for all of your work.